Chinese new year

The Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, is the most important festival in a year in China. Most of Chinese will come back from working places to their parents’ cities. A small part of people will take a trip with families. That makes the busiest traffic peak in a year.

The date of Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, which is the first day of the first lunar month, not a fixed date of Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year of 2022 will fall on February 1st, 2022.

How long is the Chinese New Year?

Traditionally, Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days from new year eve to Lantern Festival, the fifth day of the first lunar month. As the most important festival of China, the Chinese New Year will have a 7-day public holiday. In 2022, the holiday will start from January 31st (New Year Eve) to February 6th.

Why Chinese New Year is called Spring Festival?

The Chinese New Year is also named Spring Festival. Literally it is the festival to welcome and celebrate the spring.

In Chinese culture, spring represents new lives, beginning, and hopes. The lunar Chinese New Year usually starts from late January or early February, when the winter will be gone soon and the spring is coming in the corner.

What is the zodiac animal of Chinese New Year 2022?

zodiac tiger

Tiger represents the zodiac sign of 2022. It is the third animal in the 12 zodiac circle in Chinese culture. People who was born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950 are Tigers in Chinese zodiac.

The order of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals is Rat - Ox - Tiger - Rabbit - Dragon - Snake - Horse - Goat - Monkey - Rooster - Dog - Pig. People who was born in what zodiac year belongs to the correspondent animal based on the Chinese lunar calendar, not the Gregorian calendar. For example, peole who will born after February 1, 2022 would belong to zodiac Tiger. Born before January 31, 2022 belongs to zodiac Ox of 2021.

Do you wonder which zodiac sign are you? You can find your zodiac animal with our date of birth in the following chart.

Zodiac Date of Birth
Rat 1936.01.24~1937.02.10 1948.02.10~1949.01.28 1960.01.28~1961.02.14 1972.02.15~1973.02.02
1984.02.02~1985.02.19 1996.02.19~1997.02.06 2008.02.07~2009.01.25 2020.01.25~2021.02.11
Ox 1937.02.11~1938.01.30 1949.01.29~1950.02.16 1961.02.15~1962.02.04 1973.02.03~1974.01.22
1985.02.20~1986.02.08 1997.02.07~1998.01.27 2009.01.26~2010.02.13 2021.02.12~2022.01.31
Tiger 1938.01.31~1939.02.18 1950.02.17~1951.02.05 1962.02.05~1963.01.24 1974.01.23~1975.02.10
1986.02.09~1987.01.28 1998.01.28~1999.02.15 2010.02.14~2011.02.02 2022.02.01~2023.01.21
Rabbit 1939.02.19~1940.02.07 1951.02.06~1952.01.26 1963.01.25~1964.02.12 1975.02.11~1976.01.30
1987.01.29~1988.02.16 1999.02.16~2000.02.04 2011.02.03~2012.01.22 2023.01.22~2024.02.09
Dragon 1940.02.08~1941.01.26 1952.01.27~1953.02.13 1964.02.13~1965.02.01 1976.01.31~1977.02.17
1988.02.17~1989.02.05 2000.02.05~2001.01.23 2012.01.23~2013.02.09 2024.02.10~2025.01.28
Snake 1941.01.27~1942.02.14 1953.02.14~1954.02.02 1965.02.01~1966.01.20 1977.02.18~1978.02.06
1989.02.05~1990.01.26 2001.01.24~2002.02.11 2013.02.10~2014.01.30 2025.01.29~2026.02.16
Horse 1942.02.15~1943.02.04 1954.02.03~1955.01.23 1966.01.21~1967.02.08 1978.02.07~1979.01.27
1990.01.27~1991.02.14 2002.02.12~2003.01.31 2014.01.31~2015.02.18 2026.02.17~2027.02.05
Goat 1943.02.05~1944.01.24 1955.01.24~1956.02.11 1967.02.09~1968.01.29 1979.01.28~1980.02.15
1991.02.15~1992.02.03 2003.02.01~2004.01.21 2015.02.19~2016.02.07 2027.02.06~2028.01.25
Monkey 1944.01.25~1945.02.12 1956.02.12~1957.01.30 1968.01.30~1969.02.16 1980.02.16~1981.02.04
1992.02.04~1993.01.22 2004.01.22~2005.02.08 2016.02.08~2017.01.27 2028.01.26~2029.02.12
Rooster 1945.02.13~1946.02.01 1957.01.31~1958.02.17 1969.02.17~1970.02.05 1981.02.05~1982.01.24
1993.01.23~1994.02.09 2005.02.09~2006.01.28 2017.01.28~2018.02.15 2029.02.13~2030.02.12
Dog 1946.02.02~1947.01.21 1958.02.18~1959.02.07 1970.02.06~1971.01.26 1982.01.24~1983.02.12
1994.02.10~1995.01.30 2006.01.28~2007.02.17 2018.02.16~2019.02.04 2030.02.13~2031.01.22
Pig 1947.01.22~1948.02.09 1959.02.08~1960.01.27 1971.01.27~1972.02.14 1983.02.13~1984.02.01
1995.01.31~1996.02.18 2007.02.18~2008.02.06 2019.02.05~2020.01.24 2031.01.23~2032.02.10

What are Chinese New Year’s traditions?

There are a lot of Chinese New Year’s traditions that can be traced since a thousand of years ago in Chinese history, such as cleaning the house and decorating with red items, having a great family dinner, watching dragon and lion dance, and giving red envelopes...

Clean the house and decorate with red items

spring festival decoration

A spring-cleaning is the first tradition that must to do before New Year Eve. After clean-up, it is time to decorate the house with red items, such as red bedding, red couplets, red pictures with “福” (good luck) and Chinese zodiac of the lunar year.

A great family dinner on New Year's Eve

The dinner on New Year Eve is the grandest of a year. Everybody in the family will reunion at grandparents’ or parents’ house to enjoy the meal.

What foods are eaten on New Year's Eve?



As one of the most traditional foods of China, dumplings are more often to be seen in Northern China rather than in the south.

A dumpling looks like a gold ingot, which represents wealth in ancient China. With the good moral, dumplings have more than 200 years of history of China. It becomes one of the must-to-eat foods on New Year Eve for a hundred years.

Usually the dumplings are made of minced pork with two or three more vegetables, such as cabbage, agaric, corn, mushroom, horseshoe, leek, etc. Of course you can put any other vegetables according to your preference. But all have to be cut up into tiny pieces.

After mix up all the stuffing, it’s time to make dumplings. Firstly, you put some stuffing on the middle of a dumpling wrapper. Then, you pinch the wrapper into a dumpling shape. Prepare some hot water and put all your dumplings into it. Boil the dumplings until they float up. Now your dumplings are ready. DIY the sauce with soy sauce, vinegar, or chilli will be better.

Rice cake

Rice cake in the north is different from that in the south. Northern rice cake is made of yellow rice flour, while southern rice cake is made of glutinous rice. The yellow rice cake tastes more chewy, while glutinous rice cake tastes more soft and delicate.


Both the north and the south will have fish on New Year Eve but in different cooking way. Northern people would love to make braised fish in brown sauce. Southern people are more willing to steam the fish with slight sauce.

Give lucky money in red envelopes to kids

lucky money in red envelopes

The money in red envelopes is called “ya sui qian” in Chinese. It is a tradition with over a thousand years of history. In ancient China, it is believed that kids are easy to be affected by evils on the New Year’s Eve. Copper coins under pillows will help to ward off those evils.

It is the happiest time for children to receive lucky money from their parents, grandparents, and relatives on the New Year’s Eve. It represents to give the best wishes to the younger generation in the coming years.

You may curious about how much money should be put in a red envelope? Well, there is no solid number from 10 RMB to more than a thousand RMB. The amount is not that mattered but the wish does. It’s important to let the kids know why give the money and what to do with the money.

Watch CCTV Spring Festival Gala

The spring festival gala is the top show in China that more than 10,000 staffs, actors, singers are involved in every year. More than 12 hundred million of audience have watched the gala on New Year Eve of 2021, which ranks the top gala with the the grandest audience in the world.

The first Spring Festival Gala has been held in 1983. With 38 years of history, it is one the most typical and unique tradition in the hearts of Chinese. Songs and dance, and jokes from sketch comedies always bring trend on the internet.

Dragon and Lion Dance

Play Dragon and Lion Dance

Dragon and lion dance is a very tradional show that can be traced to a thousand years ago in Chinese history. The lion dance requires at least 3 people to performance, two play as a lion and one play as a warrior carring with silk ball to attract the lion. As a lion, they will jump up and down on the wooden stakes with very professional skills.

The dragon dance needs more people to play. The dragon props are made of grass, bamboo, and fabric that measures over 10 meters. At least 10 strong man are able to lift up the "dragon" and play it up and down.

Wear red clothes, especially in your zodiac year

Red symbolizes good luck and fortune in Chinese culture. Everybody love to wear red clothes for the New Year. If the Chinese zodiac of the year is your zodiac, you must wear something red. On the first day of Spring Festival, you will often see people in red coats, sweaters, dresses on the street. The Chinese believe that red color will bring good fortune to the coming year.

Chinese New Year Greetings

“Gong Xi Fa Cai”, referring to “wish you get rich”, is the most popular idiom that everybody meet during the New Year celebration will say. Not only this, there are many Chinese idioms that express great wishes for the coming years.

Chinese New Year Greetings
Chinese Pinyin Meaning
恭喜发财 gōng xǐ fā cái Wish you get rich.
新年快乐 xīn nián kuài lè Happy new year.
大吉大利 dà jí dà lì Wish you good fortune and every success.
万事如意 wàn shì rú yì Everything goes as you wish.
心想事成 xīn xiǎng shì chéng May all your wishes come true.
一帆风顺 yì fān fēng shùn Wish you every success.
生意兴隆 shēng yì xīng lóng May your business is booming.

Is Chinese New Year a good time to visit China?

Honestly to say that it’s not the best time to visit China during the Chinese new year holiday. As the most important festival in China, though it’s a great time to know more about Chinese culture and local customs, difficulties of travel for foreigners are there.

Forbidden City in snow

Some restaurants / museums / scenic spots are closed

The public holiday of Chinese new year is 7 days from 31st of 12th lunar month to 6th of 1st lunar month of Chinese lunar calendar. Most national museums and scenic spots are open as usual, except on the New Year’s Eve. national museums and scenic spot will be closed during this time. For example, the Forbidden City is closed on New Year's Eve.

Service fee / hotel expense increases rather than usual

The public holiday of Chinese new year is 7 days from 31st of 12th lunar month to 6th of 1st lunar month of Chinese lunar calendar. Service fee or hotel expense is doubled than usual.

A train ticket or a flight ticket is hard to get

Travel rush during the spring festival will bring millions of passengers home from work. The peak of traffic is happened two days before the New Year. A train ticket or a flight ticket is too popular to book.

Cold weather in most places in China

It is still cold in January and February in most cities in China, especially in the north.

Temperature during Spring Festival
City Temperature City Temperature
Beijing -6℃ ~ 3℃ Shanghai 3℃ ~ 9℃
Xi'an -3℃ ~ 5℃ Har'bin -25℃ ~ 14℃
Hangzhou 2℃ ~ 9℃ Chengdu 3℃ ~ 11℃
Guilin 7℃ ~ 13℃ Lijiang 0℃ ~ 15℃
Tibet -8℃ ~ -8℃ Xinjiang -16℃ ~ -8℃
Guangzhou 10℃ ~ 19℃ Hongkong 15℃ ~ 19℃

The best time to visit China

Except the national public holiday, such as Oct.1 ~7th and May 1st ~ 5th, the rest of time are very suitable to visit China. Overall, most cities in China have four distinctive seasons in weather. Northern cities and southern areas have different attractions in different seasons. It depends on your timetable and preferrence.

When booking a train ticket in China, China Train Booking app will help to reserve your seat on the train.

Further reading:
Bullet Train from Beijing to Shanghai: Timetable, Tickets, Prices
China Entry and Travel Restrictions in 2021
Baggage Rules of China Rail